think he was better than people gave him credit for last season.
When a team is struggling, like United have at times this season, a player who has Berbatov’s languid style is always going to be one of the first in line for criticism. I sympathise because when I struggled people used to look at my style and almost suggest I was not interested. That was not the case at all.
One thing is certain. If a side is struggling, then a player with Berbatov’s style will always get more flak that one who plays with the all-action effort of Tevez.
Tevez’s contribution has put City in the top four and will give them genuine hopes of Champions League football next season.
And, just lurking in the back of their minds, will be the fact that none of Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal has made a cast-iron case to be Premier League champions this season.
All logic and past form tells us the champions will come from one of those three, but I don’t say that with total confidence because every time someone is presented with a chance to make a statement, they slip up.
As I said on the BBC’s Match Of The Day last week, it is a tribute to Ferguson and what United have inside the camp that they are still title contenders because they have not played well.
Chelsea and Arsenal have had spells when they have been truly outstanding, but you cannot really say the same about United. Indeed, by their own standards, United have been poor.
In any other season, their title aspirations would be dead and buried, but the unpredictable nature of this campaign means they are very much alive. It is almost like nobody wants to win the title.
I am not saying City will be champions, but this has been an amazing season and there is intrigue all over the place. And City have that huge transfer budget to utilise – something they will be even more willing to do if they think great prizes could be the reward.
They will certainly regard a place in the top four as a realistic possibility.
Spurs and Aston Villa have both been regarded as favourites for fourth place and then had a slip. Liverpool are also a very large part of this particular equation.
If they win their game in hand, City are only three points behind Manchester United, so you can see why they will have high hopes for the rest of the season.
And the performances of the man they took from Old Trafford will do nothing to lessen the sense of optimism around Eastlands. BENJANI has vowed to capitalise on his return to favour at Manchester City by earning a new contract at Eastlands.
The Zimbabwean forward, frozen out by former manager Mark Hughes, has started the club’s last two games under new manager Roberto Mancini.
Having scored the winner in the FA Cup third round victory at Middlesbrough on January 2, the former Portsmouth forward also played a key role in the 4-1 win against Blackburn on Monday by creating Manchester City’s opening three goals.
Injuries have affected Benjani’s prospects during his two years at Eastlands and both Hull and Notts County were keen to sign him during the August transfer window.
But having returned to favour under Mancini, the former Jomo Cosmos striker whose full name is Benjamin Mwaruwari, admits he is now ready to battle it out to secure an extended stay at the club.
He said: “I’m very happy because I’ve started two games in a row and it’s been a long time since that happened.
“As a player you have to keep on believing, even if you know the chances of playing regularly are slim.
“You have to be very professional, do everything right and work very hard and now I’m glad I’m getting my chance.
“I’ve always wanted to see out my career at City. I have six months left on my current deal and it would be nice if I could get another year or so.
“The only thing that is important to me is to fight hard for the right to play and I love the role I’ve had in recent weeks. I think it suits my game because I love a physical battle but the good thing is that when one player goes out, another comes in and does just as well – those are the ingredients of a very good team.”
City climbed into the top four by cruising to victory against Blackburn and Benjani insists that Mancini’s team can stay in the Champions League reckoning.
He said: “We need to take each game as it comes but we feel we can beat anyone at the moment.
“We have reached the top four and now we want to stay there. And while we have such competition for places and such belief and determination in the team then there is no reason why we cannot do that.” – The Telegraph